16.2 million watch Kentucky Derby on NBCby jmaloni
Second most-watched Kentucky Derby since 1989
NBC Sports' coverage of Saturday's Kentucky Derby drew 16.2 million viewers, making it the second most-watched Kentucky Derby since 1989. The viewership for the race is up 9 percent from last year's Derby (14.8 million), and up 12 percent from the Derby in 2011 (14.5 million), according to official national data provided today by The Nielsen Company.
Utilizing NBC Sports' "Big Event Strategy," three of the past five Kentucky Derby races have recorded at least 16 million viewers.
Saturday's race (6:05-6:53 p.m. ET), won by Orb, is the second most-watched Kentucky Derby dating back to 1989 (18.5 million on ABC), only surpassed by the 2010 Derby won by Super Saver (16.5 million).
The household rating of 9.7/21 is the best since 2010 (9.8/23), and tied 2009 as the second highest-rated Derby since 1992 (10.3/30 on ABC).
The 9.7/21 rating is up 8 percent from last year's race (9.0/20) and up 14 percent from 2011 (8.5/19).
The pre-race on NBC (5-6:05 p.m. ET) drew 9.1 million viewers, an increase of 12 percent from last year (8.1 million), and is the second-best pre-race viewership dating back to 1992.
NBC Sports Network's five-hour pre-race show (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET) drew 500,000 viewers, up 19 percent from last year (421,000).
NBC Sports' coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the past 13 races has averaged more than 2 million more viewers than the previous 12 Kentucky Derby broadcasts on ABC (14.3 million vs.12.0 million, up 19 percent). NBC's average viewership of 14.3 million over the past 13 Kentucky Derby broadcasts is more than 6 million more than the last six years that ABC aired the Derby (1995-2000).
The Kentucky Derby once again proved to be very popular with female viewers. In fact, 52 percent of Derby viewers were women, making it the only annual sporting event that draws more female viewers than male viewers.